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Lawsuit between Massachusetts Police Chief and Former Mayor Headed to Mediation

Thursday, January, 7, 2016

The federal lawsuit filed by the Chicopee police chief against the town’s former mayor is headed to mediation.


Both Chief William R. Jebb and Mayor Michael D. Bissonnette will meet together with the assistance of a neutral third party to discuss the options for settling their dispute. The mediator will help them perform risk analysis and come to a resolution on which they are both able to agree.


The dispute began when Jebb accused Bissonnette of defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress, as well as neglect and violation of civil rights. The civil lawsuit also included the city. The suit was filed in Hampden Superior Court, but later moved to US District Court.


Bissonette’s attorney has also filed a motion to dismiss the suit based on Jebb’s inability to show precise wording of statements that defamed his client. He also claims the allegations occurred outside of the three year statute of limitations.


The lawsuit is a culmination of a long-term tumultuous relationship between the mayor and the chief of police that began with a 2013 dispute. Bissonette appointed Captain Thomas Charette as acting and then permanent police chief over Jebb due to a higher score achieved on an assessment center evaluation. The Civil Service Commission ultimately overturned the placement and Mayor Richard J. Kos, Bissonette’s opponent in the November 2013 election, appointed Jebb police chief.


Bissonnette then accused Jebb of releasing information to the press concerning the arrest and censure related to a 20 year old incident.


Both parties requested mediation in hopes of settling the dispute. A mediation date has yet to be set.